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Unlocking the Potential of Migrants in Germany

image of Unlocking the Potential of Migrants in Germany

The German vocational education and training (VET) system is admired around the world for its ability to prepare young people for skilled employment. In Germany, VET smooths transitions into work and is closely aligned with labour market demand. This report focuses on an unprecedented test of the German VET system: how to respond to the significant increase in migrants who arrived in the country in 2015-16. The study explores both the opportunities and the challenges presented by migration. Germany has already devoted significant attention to VET as a mechanism for enabling integration – and for good reason. Work-based learning assists integration because it demonstrably gives learners skills that employers want in real-world settings. The report assesses the barriers faced by learners in their journeys into and through VET, exploring how such challenges can be addressed. In addition, the study looks at system-wide issues in relation to how VET provision and integration policy is governed. Lastly, it explores opportunities for increased flexibility in the German VET system of relevance to all youth at risk of not succeeding in VET. In responding to migrant needs, German VET can become more inclusive without reducing quality.

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Getting into vocational education and training in Germany

Combining school-based with workplace-based learning is one of the strengths of the German vocational education and training (VET) system. Yet, securing an apprenticeship can also present a challenge for young people, particularly when their grades are low and when their parents cannot support them during the application process. This chapter identifies the main challenges that recent arrivals and young natives with immigrant parents might face when they are trying to secure an apprenticeship, as well as the barriers employers might have in taking on a migrant apprentices. The main challenges identified include: 1) finding an apprenticeship, 2) getting employers on board, and 3) tackling discrimination in the apprenticeship market. It further discusses how Germany has responded to these challenges, provides policy recommendations on how to facilitate entry into VET and highlights good practice examples from other OECD countries and Länder in Germany.

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